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How to cut costs ahead of Christmas

How to cut costs ahead of Christmas

Category: Money

Updated: 12/11/2015
First Published: 12/11/2015

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The Christmas adverts have started, film channels are turning distinctly festive, and people everywhere are starting to think seriously about the number of shopping days left until the main event. Yes, the countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun, but don't let it get your finances in a spin: if you've started worrying about how you'll cover the cost, we've compiled a few top tips to help you reduce your bills and save a bit of extra cash for the big festive shop.

  • Compare energy tariffs. Winter is the season of peak energy use, so if you haven't compared your tariff in a while, it's high time you did! This is even more important if you're on a supplier's standard variable deal – this will often cost far more than if you switched to a low-cost fixed tariff, and you could end up hundreds of pounds better off. Compare tariffs now to see how much you could save.
  • Don't auto-renew insurance policies. When your insurance policies are coming up for renewal, it's often tempting to automatically go back to your current provider. But, this could be a big mistake – how do you know that you're getting the best deal if you don't take the time to look around? A quick insurance comparison could be all it takes to get a better policy, and you may find you're able to increase your level of cover or reduce your premiums in the process.
  • Review your entertainment packages. Christmas may be the time to snuggle up in front of the TV, but that doesn't mean you should be paying over the odds for the privilege. Many suppliers offer competitive phone, TV and broadband packages, and at this time of year you could get even better deals – make sure to compare the options and see if you can boost your entertainment enjoyment without the expense. You may even want to consider switching from contract arrangements to non-subscription versions: research from Freesat shows that 99% of Sky TV customers' favourite shows in the last year were aired on free TV channels, and they watch less than 30% of the channels on offer, too, so the average paid TV spend of £471 per year may not be necessary.
  • Keep an eye on your outgoings. It goes without saying, but if you want to save a few pennies, it's vital to know where they're going in the first place. Keep a close eye on your expenditure and make a note of anything you could cut back on – things like takeaways, daily coffees and pre-packed lunches could be a great place to start – and put that extra cash into a dedicated savings account. Be sure to check your bank statements for any forgotten-about direct debits, too, as that unused gym membership could be put to far better use elsewhere.
  • Be voucher savvy. A great way to cut your spending is to take advantage of vouchers, discounts or anything else you can get your hands on! Many retailers offer money-off coupons, for example, as well as things like multi-buy offers, but in this case make sure that you're not tempted to buy something that you otherwise wouldn't simply because of the discount. Instead, scour the internet for as many vouchers as you can get your hands on, and don't forget about cashback sites if you really want to boost your earning potential.
  • Have a clear out. Having a thorough sort out before the main event can be beneficial in two key ways – not only will you have more space for all the family (and presents) to fit in, but you could also sell the excess clutter for a handy festive cash injection. Research from vouchercloud.com has revealed that this is a growing trend, too, with the figures showing that 44% of respondents regularly sell items online to make extra money outside of their full-time job.
  • Switch current account. If you're paying a monthly fee for your current account but aren't getting anything out of it, it could be time to consider the alternatives. Simply switching to a fee-free account could give your bank balance a monthly boost, or you could take it one step further and opt for a high interest current account – or even one that gives you a monthly reward or cashback just for banking with them – to benefit even more.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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